Published on June 30th, 2012 | by ultimateomnoms


The New Kermadec – Kermadec Fine

The OmNoms team had the privilege to be invited to Auckland’s first Eat&Tweet evening organised by none other than Paul Blomfield PR. Held at Kermadec, it was a great opportunity to hang out with fellow foodies, writers,  and do what we do best – EAT! Having just interviewed Anton a few days before and tasted his signature lamb dish, we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed by the evening.

Warm bread, fresh churned butter, Simunovich Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Even the bread and butter had a special place on top of the entree menu. It just shows how much attention to detail and thought has been put in to make this a memorable dining experience for everyone.

We were treated to all the entree dishes except for the caviar – No, not one dish each – everyone had a taste of each dish shared between 2 halve of the table. When they all started flooding in we all just looked at each other thinking “how are we going to do this?…”.

Fromage blanc beignet, persimmon, yuzu Marcona almond & foam

Fortunately it all worked out naturally and very civilized! I’m sure just from seeing this dish, you’ll quickly realise that almost all the other dishes are just as complexed. This was the first dish that everyone broke into. You would think that the first dish would be something savoury; no, it was quite sweet actually but definitely a good starter to open up your appetite.

(Photo courtesy of Anton Leyland)

Tuna tartare, Karengo, compressed Nashi
Piko Piko, katsuobushi

Would you say this dish looks like tuna? Maybe? No? But we somehow came to an unanimous decision that it was. And we were right! This is where the Asian flavours really started to settle in. If you read the interview with Anton last week, you’ll know he’s playing around with a lot more Asian flavours – partly from working at Tetsuya in Sydney. Notice the ingredients are all Japan oriented, sweet nashi, karengo, katsuobushi, put together with the tuna.

(Photo courtesy of Anton Leyland)

Squid & Paua, pink grapefruit, coriander, Miso, cashew chili praline

Complication. And a bit messy. But here’s something interesting I found: The slight bitterness of the grapefruit with the taste of paua and squid. Doesn’t this dish remind you of the beach? As if you had just walked past the grassy fields into the sands, and you see the foam of the seawater!

(Photo courtesy of Anton Leyland)

84 hour pork belly, prawn, apple, cinnamon,
Kasha, bison grass extract, with date chutney

As soon as this dish came, everyone eagerly (politely and slowly) picked up their knives and forks, ready to devour one of Anton’s signature dishes. Definitely a lot happening on this dish – don’t get me wrong, it was a great dish – especially the bison grass extract with the cracked pork. But when is it too much? Probably when we forget about the date chutney after almost finishing the dish!

(Photo courtesy of Anton Leyland)

Slow cooked Auckland Island scampi, cauliflower pannacotta, Hazelnuts, rum & raisin

What’s so special about this dish? Looks really average, nothing spectacular – Taste is what’s important! I just remember finding the cauliflower pannacotta bland, but put together with the hazelnuts and scampi, suddenly the texture of that pannacotta was very important.

Prime Hereford Angus 400g rib eye – roasted on the bone,
Old barrel jus, spinach, horseradish, hand-cut fries

My imagination for a rib eye deceived me this time. I was expecting something delicate, pretty. But wait, isn’t this a bit crude and simple compared to everything else? Crude yes, still beautifully cooked. My medium-rare steak was cooked medium-rare as requested, with juice flowing out – I couldn’t even tell which was the sauce. There was another star to my steak – the hand-cut fries with the aioli. You wouldn’t normally expect to have fries in a fine dining restaurant – but if they’re hand cut, crisp on the outside while hot and soft on the inside – I think we can make an exception. They were described by one of our loyal Facebook fans as “the HULK of fries”. Indeed.

(Photo courtesy of Anton Leyland)

Confit duck leg and breast, tamarind, lemongrass,
Textures of Indonesian black rice

This dish was sold as “the BEST duck I have ever eaten” according to the waiter. Knowing full well that Kermadec is a SEAFOOD restaurant, I went ahead and ordered this. When I looked down the table it seemed almost everyone opted for something a little hearty too.

I’ve had great duck dishes before but the “Indonesian black rice” caught my eye. I’ve always been proud to say that Chinese people make the best roast duck so I was curious to try this fusion dish. Arranged most beautifully on the dish, I could see straight away that the duck had been cooked most lovingly and tenderly. At first glance I was happy to see the “soil” that Anton’s lamb loin dish is famous for but it turns out it is one of the textures of the Indonesian black rice – along with black cracker and black rice puree. It was the most succulent duck dish I’ve ever tasted. Though I wished there was more of the sauce to dab around in, the moist duck made up for it.

Soft Lavender Cream
Roasted pear, wild thyme honey ice cream,
Macadamia crumble, honey comb, hibiscus syrup

Audible squeals of delight were heard all around the table when we broke into this. The sauce just oozed out beautifully. I can just imagine popping the whole thing into my mouth for that delightful crunch but as with our entrees, we shared our desserts. Can’t guarantee I can keep my paws off stealing it next time though! Hello sweet and sour summery goodness.

Raspberry Balloon– Jaina white chocolate yoghurt espuma,
Simunovich olive oil raspberry mayonnaise, yoghurt crème brûlée,
Olive jamalade, Simunovich olive oil powder

“This is just like a murder scene!!” exclaimed Elle from the Big Foody Tours and rightly so! Add that menu description maybe, Anton? With a table full of foodies this didn’t put us off at all but made the dish much more intriguing. Breaking into food seemed to be the theme of the dessert menu.

Coconut Velvet– Biscuit au potiron, basil & coconut cream,
Kaffir lime jelly, lime & ginger caviar, banana ice cream

Using foam for dessert seemed to be quite the trend at the moment. First witness at the Taste of NZ 2011, it seems to be popping up in menus all over Auckland.

Sambirano Chocolate Mousse
Nayarit crémaux, brioche crumbs, rosehip purée,
Mango jelly sponge, chocolate peppercorns, passionfruit sorbet

Oh yes chocolate lovers, there’s always something for you on the dessert menu. Beautifully arranged like a mini forest, you won’t be disappointed by the different textures and combinations of chocolatey goodness.

Situated at the heart of the viaduct, Kermadec used to be a famous seafood restaurant, and it still is. Though have you noticed? A lot of the dishes seem to be less seafood oriented. Jayson from Unscrewed did ask the question, and Anton explained the idea was to move from the sea to the land. Entrees starting all from the sea, then the mains moving more in land (hence the lamb loin).

So there you have it Omnomers, the new experience at Kermadec! It was great to be around a company of people who oozed passion for food. Excessive photo taking seemed to be the norm with flashes firing away while other opted for the lifted napkin approach. The high quality and elaborate plating was consistent throughout the whole menu. We’ll definitely be back with friends to celebrate with the degustation menu!

And if you want to dine with goldfish casually swimming around you – this is the place.

Kermadec Fine Restaurant
204 Quay St
(Level 1, Viaduct Quay Building)
Auckland Central
Auckland City

09-304 0454



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